Over the past few years, blogging has become an integral part of the way we receive and share information. It has effectively put the power of the media in the hands of anyone with a computer (or smart phone) and something to say. The service has impacted everything from global news media to pop culture.
In an interview with Toronto drummer Ted Warren, he explains that blogging for him has served as more of a personal outlet than a public one. Although the interview was originally planned to focus on blogging and its role in the jazz world, I couldn’t help but also ask about his latest project, Broadview, whose CD release will be taking place on the 3rd of April at Dora’s.
Purple Cabbage: Most Toronto jazz musicians don’t have a blog. What prompted you to start writing about your thoughts on music? Do you write for a specific audience, or has the writing served as a personal means of expression?
Ted Warren: The blog is mainly a way for me to talk about music with no one to answer to but myself. It’s meant for anyone who might find it useful – students, casual listeners etc. My Mom reads it faithfully, but she says she rarely understands what I’m talking about!
PC: In your blog, you not only share jazz related ideas, but cross genre as well. You also talk about your love for pop and classical music. How big a part does non-jazz music play in your drumming? How has listening to and playing other genres of music influenced your jazz playing?
TW: I’m glad you noticed that about the blog. I’ve always been interested in music I found exciting, regardless of genre. All the music that I like informs my listening, writing, and playing. There is also a lot of music called “jazz” that I don’t like much, although I would never mention it by name in my blog. I think if I hear music that sounds honest, creative, and inventive, I’ll want to hear more. Whether that’s Bartok or the Foo Fighters has never been an issue for me.
PC: From reading your blog, it becomes apparent that yourself, and most other accomplished jazz musicians, have broad artistic and creative interests, beyond the realm of jazz. How important do you think this is and why?
TW: I certainly like other forms of expression, such as films, dance and visual arts. Unfortunately, I don’t get around to checking much out. As well as my work on the drums (I would never call myself as jazz drummer as much as a musician that plays drums, regardless of style) I have been practicing a lot of piano, which is helping relate to harmony in a deeper way. I’ve also been playing harmonica, which has led to a much deeper interest and better appreciation of the blues. That’s some very deep music. I find all the music I play and listen to keeps me feeling fresh and creative. I can never imagine playing or listening to one type of music. It would be like only getting to eat one kind of candy. It’s nice, but why would you bother?
PC: Steve Bellamy, of Addo Records, mentioned in an interview in February that you will be releasing a new record with your current group, Broadview, this year. When can we expect to hear it?
TW: The new Broadview recording is entitled “Two of Clubs” and will be released the first week of April. The band is doing a CD release on Sunday April 3rd at the Dora Keogh.
PC: Broadview features Mike Murley on tenor sax and Rich Brown on electric bass. Could you talk a little bit about the concept behind forming this group and some of the challenges and rewards that came about?
TW: In a nutshell, the initial concept behind Broadview was my desire to get an opportunity to play with Rich and Mike more often. I knew they would sound great in a chordless format and we would have a lot of fun playing together. I generally wrote specifically for the trio. With the chordless trio format, the challenge has been writing and performing music that relies on largely implied harmonies. At any one time, the listener hears the melody note and the bass note, and is required to imagine the notes in between. As a drummer, this is something that I feel I’ve had to work at in a different way, in contrast to the other two [Murley and Brown] who seem to have more of a natural feel for it. That being said, it has been and still is a fun challenge for me, and I’m really enjoying it. The playing, as I expected, has been a great joy from the very first note we played.
You can read more about what Ted has to say at his blog: trapdted.blogspot.com/
Catch Ted this month at his CD release at Dora’s on April 3rd and at the Rex on the 14th of April.
The Purple Cabbage